Malaysian Curry Powder

By Published On: November 6th, 2020

A good Malaysian curry is nothing without a great Malaysian curry powder. For a flavourful sauce, try my fail-safe, authentic Malay spice mix recipe for that unmistakable fragrance and flavour.

A combination of spices form a bright red Malaysian Curry Powder

The starting point for any good Malaysian curry is a good Malaysian curry powder. The unique fragrance of Malaysian curries is the hybrid of Indian and South East Asia. Indian spice blends combined with fresh, fragrant South East Asian ingredients to create one of the World's great cuisines. Sweet and spiced with an unmistakeable aniseed note, making it truly Malaysian.

Should I buy or make my own Malaysian Curry powder?

Buying Malaysian Curry Powder

To create that unique flavour, there is no shame in buying pre-made curry powders. They have a wonderful combination of flavour and are ready-to-go from the packet. If you ARE buying a curry powder pre-made, then be sure to search for 'Malaysian curry powder'. Malaysian curry powder is not the same as powders typically labelled 'curry powder'. You'll often see powders names Malaysian Curry Powder 'for meat' or 'for fish'. Each has its own unique blend of spices.

Malaysian Chicken Curry

My go-to curry powder is 'Yeo's Malaysian Curry Powder', which, let me TELL YOU, makes a mean Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam). And for fish, 'Baba's Fish and Prawn Curry Powder'.

Making Malaysian Curry Powder at home

Nothing gives you the control to make the most amazing flavoursome curry than making your own curry powder at home. If I can't get hold of curry powder at the store, making my own fresh blend at home is a great idea. And fresh curry powder is just that, packed with flavour. Toasted spices unlock the flavour, and when ground this powder is a pure burst of authentic Malaysian spice, fragrance and aroma.

Why should I toast spices?

Toasting spice is a tried and tested way of bringing flavour to curries. The natural oils are activated and you'll extract every little bit of flavour when it comes to cooking. The same can be said for curry powders. Toasting spices, by dry frying in a pan, unlocks the flavour, so that when it's ground it's at its most fragrant.

Here's what goes into my Malaysian Curry powder recipe:

  • Fennel seeds
  • Star anise
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Cardamom pods
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves

How long does curry powder last?

Making at home allows you to prepare enough for multiple meals. This recipe creates enough powder for 4 curries. Do you realise how much delicious liquid Malaysia this means!? I'm ALWAYS primed for Malaysian curry, so to have a Malay spice mix on hand is all the impetus I need.

This Malaysian spice mix will stay vibrant for 6-8 months in a sealed jar in a cool place - that's plenty of time to plan your meal, right? And this recipe is great for chicken, red meat, vegetables and even seafood, so that's plenty of variety. Try My other curry powder recipes too... My Sri Lankan Curry Powder and Madras Curry Powder

Delicious recipes using Malaysian Curry Powder

Use up to 4 heaped teaspoons of Malaysian curry powder for each curry you plan on making. The curry powder isn't spicy, it's more floral and fragrant, with an aniseed note unique to Malaysian cuisine. Here are a few recipes that you can use THIS curry powder to great effect. Check out my Best Malaysian Curry Recipes for all the inspiration you'll need.

Malaysian Curry Powder

Malaysian Curry Powder

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4.82 from 11 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Curry Powder
Cuisine Malaysian
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 4 Meals
Calories (per serving) | 63

Video Recipe


Whole Spices

Powdered spices


  • In a dry frying pan, toast all the whole spices for 1-2 minutes until spluttering and jumping around. Remove from the heat into a bowl and cool slightly.
  • Tip into a spice grinder (you may need to do this in batches) and grind into a fine powder.
  • Mix in paprika and chilli powder. Decant in a sealable container or jar and keep in a cool, dark spot until needed. It'll be fine and fresh for 6-8 months.
    A portion for one curry would be around 4 heaped teaspoons.


This powder is perfect for chicken. But can be used for beef, lamb, duck and even seafood.


Calories: 63kcal (3%) | Carbohydrates: 12g (4%) | Protein: 3g (6%) | Fat: 2g (3%) | Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) | Sodium: 1174mg (51%) | Potassium: 299mg (9%) | Fiber: 6g (25%) | Sugar: 1g (1%) | Vitamin A: 2292IU (46%) | Vitamin C: 2mg (2%) | Calcium: 121mg (12%) | Iron: 5mg (28%)
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A combination of spices form a bright red Malaysian Curry Powder

Did you make my Malaysian Curry Powder?

How did you go? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to tag @cookeatworld at Instagram.